4.0 14
Director: Steven Spielberg

Cast: Morgan Freeman, Anthony Hopkins, Matthew McConaughey


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This Steven Spielberg-directed exploration into a long-ago episode in African-American history recounts the trial that followed the 1839 rebellion aboard the Spanish slave ship Amistad and captures the complex political maneuverings set in motion by the event. Filmed in New England and Puerto Rico, the 152-minute drama opens with a pre-credit sequence showing Cinque…  See more details below


This Steven Spielberg-directed exploration into a long-ago episode in African-American history recounts the trial that followed the 1839 rebellion aboard the Spanish slave ship Amistad and captures the complex political maneuverings set in motion by the event. Filmed in New England and Puerto Rico, the 152-minute drama opens with a pre-credit sequence showing Cinque (Djimon Hounsou) and the other Africans in a violent takeover of the Amistad. Captured, they are imprisoned in New England where former slave Theodore Joadson (Morgan Freeman), viewing the rebels as "freedom fighters," approaches property lawyer Baldwin (Matthew McConaughey), who attempts to prove the Africans were "stolen goods" because they were kidnapped. Running for re-election, President Martin Van Buren (Nigel Hawthorne) overturns the lower court's decision in favor of the Africans. Former President John Quincy Adams (Anthony Hopkins) is reluctant to become involved, but when the case moves on to the Supreme Court, Adams stirs emotions with a powerful defense. The storyline occasionally cuts away to Spain where the young Queen Isabella (Anna Paquin) plays with dolls; she later debated the Amistad case with seven U.S. presidents. The character portrayed by Morgan Freeman is a fictional composite of several historical figures. For authentic speech, the Africans speak the Mende language, subtitled during some scenes but not others.

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Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Dreamworks Video
[Wide Screen]
Sales rank:

Special Features

The making of Amistad; Theatrical trailer

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Morgan Freeman Theodore Joadson
Anthony Hopkins John Quincy Adams
Matthew McConaughey Baldwin
Nigel Hawthorne Martin Van Buren
Djimon Hounsou Cinque
David Paymer Secretary Forsyth
Pete Postlethwaite Holabird
Stellan Skarsgård Tappan
Anna Paquin Queen Isabella
Tomas Milian Calderon
Austin Pendleton Professor Gibbs
Jeremy Northam Judge Coglin
Arliss Howard John C. Calhoun
John Ortiz Montes
Razaaq Adoti Yamba

Technical Credits
Steven Spielberg Director,Producer
Luis Rosario Albert Asst. Director
Debbie Allen Producer
Rosemary Brandenberg Set Decoration/Design
Christopher Burian-Mohr Art Director
Randy Cabral Special Effects
Ruth E. Carter Costumes/Costume Designer
Rick Carter Production Designer
Robert Cooper Executive Producer
Bonnie Curtis Associate Producer
Paul Deason Associate Producer
Nancy Deren Set Decoration/Design
Mitchell Dubin Camera Operator
Tony Fanning Art Director
Scott Farrar Special Effects Supervisor
David H. Franzoni Screenwriter
Jeff Frink Special Effects
George Lee Set Decoration/Design
Sean Hobin Asst. Director
Industrial Light & Magic Special Effects
Robert C. Jackson Sound/Sound Designer
José Alfredo Jiménez Casting
Priscilla John Casting
Eric Jones Asst. Director
Vicente Juarbe Asst. Director
Ronald Judkins Sound/Sound Designer
Michael Kahn Editor
Janusz Kaminski Cinematographer
Pamela Klamer Set Decoration/Design
Patricia Klawonn Set Decoration/Design
George R. Lee Set Decoration/Design
Tere Lopez Casting
Laurie MacDonald Executive Producer
Jeanne McCarthy Casting
Sergio Mimica-Gezzan Asst. Director
Tito Otero Asst. Director
Walter Parkes Executive Producer
Puerto Rico Production Manager
Ed Ricci Special Effects
Pete Romano Camera Operator
Nannette Rosa-Collazo Production Manager
Tom Ryba Special Effects
Tim Shriver Co-producer
Easton M. Smith Set Decoration/Design
Carl Sprague Set Decoration/Design
Denis L. Stewart Asst. Director
Jim Teegarden Art Director
Victoria Thomas Casting
Suzan Wexler Set Decoration/Design
John Williams [composer] Score Composer
Colin Wilson Producer

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Amistad 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 14 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Guest More than 1 year ago
Even though I had to watch this movie for a history assignment, i got a lot more out of it. The hardship and obsticles that the Africans endured on the ship was more than i could ever stand. It is unbelievable tha our free country could ever be so scandeless.
Guest More than 1 year ago
i do not know why so many people felt dissapointed by it this movie was sooo moving if you are looking for another schindler's list then this is one. it was not even nominated for the best picture by the oscars it was nominated for best supporting actor anthony hopkins best cinematography best costume design and best original dramatic score by john williams and it was nominated for the golden globe awards for best picture drama best actor drama djimon hounsou best supporting actor and director. this film deserves much more and it deserves a bigger spot in hollywood history.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Amistad is one of the greatest movies ever made. Its deep and reaches into parts of our souls we never knew existed. Its so real and captivating, its like you are experiencing it yourself.
Guest More than 1 year ago
i had to watch this movie for school. we were studying slavery in the united states and our teacher brought it in for us to watch. by the end of the movie 90% of the class had tears in their eyes, not only because of the graphic images of the people on the ship, but also because of the determination of the people in the movie. i think that every child in america should have to watch this movie in school because it teaches them not to discriminate against other people simply because of the color of their skin, and it also shows you very well, just how difficult life was for Africans that came to live in the united states.
Guest More than 1 year ago
We watched this movie in World History this week...I think it was the first time in my life that I was ever seriously disturbed. I mean, The Ring scared me, but Amistad made me sick. I walked to my next class in terror, clinging to my best friend's backpack. It was an interesting story, though, because of an act of memory lapse, I missed the first 45 minutes of it, and I had to read what happened online. Matthew does an awesome job in his role. I don't think I'll ever see things the same again. I had a book "The Captive", and I haven't read it yet, in the 5 years its been in my 'To Read' list. I think its about time I actually read it...
Guest More than 1 year ago
My professor showed it to the class but we were unable to see the whole thing. From what I saw, my eyes were glued to the screen the whole time and I had to remember that I wasn't at home or in the movie theater due to some of the scenes in the movie. This is a powerful movie to see. I would recommend this to anyone who would like to see what slavery looked like in those days.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I’m a fan of the movies put out by Steven Spielberg. He has taken true historical events and turned them into such captivatingly beautiful movies that none can compare. What Spielberg did for the Holocaust in “Schindler's List,” and WWII in “Saving Private Ryan,” he did with our terrible past of slavery in “Amistad.” This film’s strength is in its portrayal of the horrible treatment of the Sierra Leone Africans who are illegally captured for slaves in the 19th century. This movie, and the event itself, was not about freedom of slaves in America over an American issue, but instead about whether slaves on a Spanish vessel were illegally captured or if they were what lawyers in the film called "livestock" in the Spanish Empire when they killed all but a few of the boat-masters. The film portrays this and then the morality of slavery in an unobtrusive way, and that’s what makes this movie great along with the score, which I believe should have gotten at least a nomination. The film is gilded by beautiful sets and costumes where even "Doctor Zhivago" pales in comparison. The photography was more than stunning. However, the film is slightly marred by the somewhat empty performances by some of Americans in the film who lack emotion and engaging dialogue, and the film doesn't unfold as smoothly as one would expect from a Spielberg creation. There are other things that are underrated, such as Djimound Honsu's unforgettable performance as the leader of the slaves as well as the drama and ghastliness of the shipboard treatment of the slaves. The person that slightly disappointment in here is Matthew McConaheys. While not bad but not as good as it could have been. Morgan Freeman played is role well here but not his best because at times he would look slightly wooden. Anthony Hopkins in the other hand is amazing. His speech at the end will send shivers down your spine. There is also a beautiful scene of Hounsou and McConaughey character's communicating perfectly in languages the other doesn't know. “Amistad” does give you emotional punch through a mild action sequence. It is purely drama, and the story's power lies in the words, expressions, and actions of the actors who make up for it. It’s truly one of the better films out there, and once again, Spielberg has proven himself to be the master of putting the human spirit on the silver screen. Even though critics place it to be a ‘good’ film I find it to be a great!
darraghfoley More than 1 year ago
Great Matey!
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